Editorial — A relaxed attitude on marijuana

If marijuana is ever legalized in Canada, B.C.'s laissez-faire attitude will have played a major role in making it happen.

The attitude towards marijuana in this province is in sharp contrast with the approach in other parts of Canada.

Proof of that comes in details from a court document, filed as part of an application to seize a property near the Aldergrove border crossing which was the subject of a massive search last week.

Although the large property just drew public attention last week, the documents suggest it has been used for marijuana production since 1993. That’s a 22-year period.

It is important to keep in mind that, in 1993, growing and selling marijuana for any purposes was illegal in Canada. While there were advocates for medicinal marijuana,  which has since been allowed, growing, selling and using the product could lead to criminal charges.

Yet as the documents suggest, there was plenty of marijuana being grown in Langley (and other parts of B.C.) at that time.  Some was for local consumption, and some was truly for medicinal purposes. However, the vast majority  was grown for shipment to the U.S. and other countries, often in return for other drugs or guns.

B.C. residents have had a more laissez-faire attitude towards marijuana since the late 1960s, and a willingness to put up with marijuana growing, if not actively partaking in what has been a big business, has been strong for many years.

Could any other province have been so receptive to marijuana activist Marc Emery who, after serving several years in a U.S. jail, is encouraging American marijuana users to come here and buy their supply — even though it remains illegal to sell it, except for medicinal purposes?

It seems likely that, if the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado turns out to be successful,  marijuana will be legalized throughout North America some day.

If that does happen, B.C. marijuana activists, and the laissez-faire attitude that so many B.C. residents have,  will have played a major role.